Wolff in Journalist’s Clothing? ‘I Said Whatever Was Necessary to Get the Story’

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Wolff in Journalist’s Clothing? ‘I Said Whatever Was Necessary to Get the Story’


As Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie repeatedly questioned his credibility on Friday, Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff declared that he stood by “absolutely everything” in his Trump-trashing book. Despite that assertion, he later admitted to using deceptive tactics: “I certainly said what was ever necessary to get the story.”

Guthrie began by quoting President Trump’s criticism of the book: “Well, the President, obviously as you know, tweeted about you last night. He says, ‘I authorized zero access to the White House,’ actually turned you down ‘many times.’ Says he’d ‘never spoke’ to you for the book, ‘It’s full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” So as good a place to start as any, did you talk to the President?’” Wolff snidely replied: “What was I doing there if he didn’t want me to be there?”

 

 

The morning show host repeated her question: “Well, let me ask you, did you talk to President? Did you interview him for this book?” Rather than simply say yes, Wolff gave this equivocating response: “I absolutely spoke to the President. Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record.”

Guthrie reiterated moments later that “the President is saying it’s full of lies” and that Wolff “didn’t have the access” he claimed to have. He whined: “You know, I think we – one of the things we have to count on is that Donald Trump will attack, he will send lawyers’ letters. This is a 35-year history of how he approaches everything.”

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She pressed: “Do you have recordings of some of these interviews and some of these conversations?…Would you release any of those recordings, since your credibility is being questioned?” Wolff sneered: “My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point.”

Wrapping up the exclusive sit-down, Guthrie pointed out: “Your former editor at Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, said he wasn’t surprised you’d written this explosive book, he was surprised they let you in the door at the White House. Are you surprised?” Wolff remarked: “You know, no. I’m a nice guy.” She replied: “Did you flatter your way in?” Wolff proclaimed: “I certainly said what was ever necessary to get the story.”

As the Washington Post detailed on Wednesday, Wolff has a long history of getting facts wrong or even making things up.

Here are relevant portions of the January 5 interview in which Guthrie challenged Wolff’s credibility:

7:13 AM ET

(…)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, the President, obviously as you know, tweeted about you last night. He says, “I authorized zero access to the White House,” actually turned you down “many times.” Says he’d “never spoke” to you for the book, “It’s full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” So as good a place to start as any, did you talk to the President?  

MICHAEL WOLFF: What was I doing there if he didn’t want me to be there?

GUTHRIE: Well, let me ask you, did you talk to President? Did you interview him for this book?

WOLFF: I absolutely spoke to the President. Whether he realized it was an interview or not, I don’t know, but it certainly was not off the record.

(…)

7:15 AM ET

WOLFF: I spent – and this was really sort of the point of the book – I spoke to people who spoke to the President on a daily, sometimes minute-by-minute basis. So this book was really – I mean, in a sense, there was one question on my mind when I began this book: “What is it like to work with Donald Trump? How can you work with Donald Trump? And what is the – how do you feel, having worked with Donald Trump?

GUTHRIE: And I want to get to the substance which you’ve written in the book in a moment, but just to clear this up, because the President is saying it’s full of lies. That you didn’t have the access you said you had.

WOLFF: You know, I think we – one of the things we have to count on is that Donald Trump will attack, he will send lawyers’ letters. This is a 35-year history of how he approaches everything.

GUTHRIE: Do you have recordings of some of these interviews and some of these conversations?

WOLFF: Well, I work like every journalist works. So I have recordings, I have notes. I am certainly and absolutely in every way comfortable with everything I’ve reported in this book.

GUTHRIE: Would you release any of those recordings, since your credibility is being questioned?

WOLFF: My credibility is being questioned by a man who has less credibility than perhaps anyone who has ever walked on Earth at this point.         

GUTHRIE: Before I leave it. I will say the President, the tweet alludes to, quote, “your past.” It says – I assume referring to a profile about you in 2004 in the New Republic. The reporter said of you, “The scenes in your writing aren’t recreated so much as created, springing from Wolf’s imagination rather than actual knowledge of the facts.”  

WOLFF: I’ve written many books. I’ve written millions upon millions of words. I don’t think there has ever been one correction.

GUTHRIE: So you stand by everything in the book? Nothing made up?  

WOLFF: Absolutely everything in the book.

(…)

7:21 AM ET

GUTHRIE: Your former editor at Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, said he wasn’t surprised you’d written this explosive book, he was surprised they let you in the door at the White House. Are you surprised?

WOLFF: You know, no. I’m a nice guy.  I go in and –

GUTHRIE: Did you flatter your way in?

WOLFF: I certainly said what was ever necessary to get the story.

(…)



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